Role play is often used in medical interviews, particularly MMIs, to test your communication skills in real time. Being able to communicate effectively and clearly is a crucial part of medicine, therefore it is important you can show this to admission tutors. Scenarios can vary from breaking bad news, to confronting a friend/colleague, to apologising to a patient when a mistake has been made.
For each scenario, we have provided 5 tips which can help you to feel confident about any situation that may come your way. Using this advice will enable you to perform effectively in Roleplay MMI Stations for Medical School.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. This is a must-have during role play settings. The situation may involve you dealing with an angry patient and to avoid any further escalation consider using these phrases to show you understand why they're feeling that way:
"I know it must be frustrating for you to hear that..."
"I completely understand why you would be upset because..."
"In your position I would also react the same way"
This shows the examiner that you can relate with people well which would then make it easier for you to get your point across as they are more likely to listen to you. Apologising on its own is insufficient to show that you empathise with someone, you must also tell them your follow-up actions. This lets them know that you're taking them seriously.
It can feel unnatural at first to act out role play, but the more practice you get the more you will able to slip into your chosen role with ease. You can start off simple with your friends; ask them to give you feedback as well. There may be certain habits or behaviours that you do which you aren't aware of such as: excessive "ums" and "errs", looking around the room or even a restless leg. Let your friends point out these traits so you are of aware of them for the future and can work at removing them.
Ideally, you should practice with people you are less familiar with because this is more realistic to an interview setting. Therefore, it is worth asking school teachers who you are not overly familiar with if they can give you mock role play and get their feedback.
This will enable you to communicate coherently in spite of any nerves or pressure felt by the role play. One way to keep calm is to follow the routine when starting the role play to ease yourself in. For example, if appropriate, introduce yourself with your name and your role in the hospital:
"Hi, I'm ... and I'm the ..."
Before entering any role play station drink some water if this is allowed and compose yourself before beginning the station. Just remember that these actors are just people at the end of the day who want to see if you can get your point across in a professional but compassionate manner. If you need a moment to think before you respond then verbalise this and spend a short while thinking about how you will respond. However, don't fill the time with too much silence.
Role play might involve you gathering information from a patient such as in a GP consultation. You can use this structure to organise your thoughts so that you cover all the bases:
You should first ask them what they think about a certain topic. Perhaps they have come to see you about a lump they found on their body. You can find this out efficiently by asking: "Why have you requested a consultation today?" after initial greetings. Pay attention to what they say as it will inform you on what possible diagnosis or treatment the patient is expecting.
Next, you should find out what they are concerned about. This encourages them to be open about their emotions which will later help you to respond them appropriately. One way to phrase this is by asking: "Is there anything that is worrying you?". Sometimes the main problem is the concerns they have, so showing them you are aware of this can relieve their stress.
Finally, finish with asking what the patient would like to see happen. This ensures you are dealing with their concerns directly and the patient feels like they have been taken seriously. Repeating back what they said also actively shows that you have understood them.
These are things which the actor and examiner will pick up on and it's really important to show that you are actively listening. Ways to do this include:
Nodding your head
Sitting straight with your body facing them
Maintaining sufficient eye contact
Repeating what has been said
Responding back in agreement
While seemingly minor, it makes the role play more authentic.
Roleplay Multiple Mini Interview Questions
Speaking to an angry patient who is fed up of having his blood taken by doctors
Confronting a friend who has stolen from a till
Admitting to a customer that you failed to book a restaurant slot for their Wedding Anniversary
Counselling an obese patient to make lifestyle factors
Reassuring an anxious pregnant woman that her baby is developing normally